Of Earth and Sky: Tree Woman

“Today’s mantra is ‘I can do hard things,'” she said in her cheery voice. We rotated our bodies in unison. I breathed down into goddess pose and could feel the tears coming to the forefront as I stared at my reflection. They hung at the edges of my lower lids and then dropped next to my bare feet, hitting my yoga mat with a soft popping sound. Goddess pose always reminds me of a birthing position, which is probably why it’s referred to as Goddess pose. Oh, I miss my baby. I miss my innocence of birth almost as much.

I can do hard things.

Like birthing three babies, one of which I had to give back. Mother’s Day came and went just days ago. It was inexplicably hard. Losing a baby makes milestones and celebrations hard enough, but this day was compounded by two other factors. One, it also happened to be Reece’s six month birthday. Six months. Half a year of living without him. And two, the relationship with my own mother has been very different since Reece died. So. Happy Mother’s Day indeed.

I can do hard things.

During my very brief adventure as a milk donor, I had saved back the very first of the milk as Reece’s milk. As I pumped and cried, I waited for the day when I would find the strength to send the milk away. It was almost orange, like Kraft Mac and Cheese sauce. 1456333343562

From the tears and the heartache, I could honor my journey with something beautiful. I had a breastmilk pedant made. I sent away about a tablespoon for the milk to be plasticized and formed into a shape.



I wanted to honor each of my sons, two of which I was blessed to have nursed for thirteen hard, glorious, nerve-wrecking months. My last baby would share his milk with three other families and never need a drop of it himself. (I have no doubt he would have been a total pig about nursing, too.)

I had each of their names stamped around my chosen shape: a tree.  A tree is both Earth and sky, like my new form of motherhood.  I love two boys here on Earth and tend to their daily needs. And I look to the sky for the boy who watches and waits for me at the end of my life. My oldest was so excited to see his name stamped alongside his brothers’.

When I wear the necklace, people comment on its beauty. It is my chance to talk about all three of my babies. I wear it for special occasions or on days like Mother’s Day when my heart needs extra soothing.

“Look at you all,” she cheered. “You are all able to do these harder poses. You CAN do hard things!”

“But I don’t want to do them!” I wanted to shout out across the room, across the bending bodies who all have their own difficulties. Instead, I just let the tears roll. I know I don’t have a choice in this matter. The longing for my last baby never goes away.

As we nestled down into savasana, the lights dimmed. I cried a few spare tears (seriously, how do I even have any left in there??) and said a small prayer for peace. As I stared up into the grey ceiling, I envisioned feet. My bare feet were bloody from walking through a path of thorns.  As I lifted my foot forward, my blood watered the flowers left behind me. They were thriving and beautiful. I found peace in that image. My feet are still bloody and aching as I walk this path of life-long grief. As long as I love my son, I will miss him. I will love him forever and so I shall miss him forever.

I can do hard things.

Rising from the depths of grief is hard. But I must. For myself, for my two living boys, for my husband who has proven to be a reason to rise again and again. Someday my proverbial feet will be thick with scars instead of bloody wounds. For now, maybe I can water some flowers and leave something beautiful behind me as I walk this broken road.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s